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Review: Taimanin Asagi

There are some reviews of mine that are just destined not to sit with existing nukige fandom. Given that Taimanin Asagi is the first in a fairly long running series of nukige, it likely suggests that there’s a lot of people with serious interest in it. I also know that there’s been more than a few attempts to get Taimanin Asagi localized.

In 2019, Infini-Brain released a censored translation titled Taimanin Asagi 1: Trial, which is available for free on Steam. This was most likely done to promote the free-to-play gacha spin-off Action Taimanin, released in 2020. It wasn’t until last year that the uncensored version of the original VN was localized by Shriravune. Unfortunately, Shiravune’s translation work leaves a lot to be desired.

Translation Quality

Shiravune’s translation of Taimain Asagi is INFESTED with typos. There were so many, in fact, that I simply choose to copy-paste my screencaps of them into my Discord server because manually saving them all to a folder would disrupt any progress with the game. Just to emphasize how many there are, I will be including all of the ones that I found in a single image.

Whatever happened to “read the script aloud to check for errors?”

Regardless of my feelings on the game itself, a script this poor is unacceptable for a major company like Shiravune, especially when they’ve shown themselves to be more than capable with their localization of The Shell. It occurs to me that I took a long ass time to get around to this review, so it’s possible that some of this could have been fixed with a patch. However, even if that is the case, it’s still way below the quality expected of a professional release.

Soundtrack & Mechanics

Now that this is out of the way, there’s the subject of the base game. I can only assume (and hope) that Taimanin Asagi, being the first in a long running series, had a significantly lower budget than future installments. Even with that in mind, though, I still do not get how a game like this manages to have a worse soundtrack than Games&Girls, a Yume Creations shovelware whose own composer admitted they made it in 11 minutes. The only thing keeping this atrocity from being the worst I’ve heard in a visual novel is Midnight Carnival, an unfinished piece of crap I reviewed a while back. Taimanin Asagi is a game by a professional studio, yet I’m supposed to believe the best they can do is a obnoxiously grating 12 second guitar loop over police sirens?

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Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?

On top of this, the game does not allow you to skip over read text. This incredibly basic staple of the medium is absent, despite the fact that there are three different endings and a bunch of choices that will effect the outcome. Due to this missing feature, I only saw two of the three endings in my playthrough, because I was not willing to re-read this dumpster fire of a nukige just to finish it. That being said, the artwork is pretty solid, and it’s the one area of this game that is consistently good.

Plot & the H-factor

So, that leaves two areas to explore: plot and the H-factor. Both start out pretty decent but fall off a cliff immediately afterwards. The plot for this title presents a world in which demons rule over the Earth. There’s a group of elite Kunoichi known as Taimanin that exist to eradicate those demons and restore order. The titular Asagi was once known as the most powerful Taimanin, who destroyed the fearsome Oboro Ninja Troop on her last mission before retiring. The reason for her retirement is that she fell in love with a man named Kyousuke Sawaki, and Taimanin are forbidden from having partners.

This game’s portrayal of Orcs has a lot of odd parallels to negative stereotypes about black people, and the game even calls them “breeding monkeys.” Yeah, this makes shit awkward.

Yes, that does sound cliché as hell, but it works for what this game is going for. Taimanin Asagi is meant to play off of the nature of action shows and use that as a basis to tell a pornographic story. While this approach is fairly common in nukige, what sets Taimanin Asagi apart is that it commits to the lore and tells a decent story with it. Granted, I don’t think the story is amazing by any means. Most of the characters are rather flat, and the plot points are fairly predictable, but there’s something there.

Unfortunately, the parts that do resemble a run-of-the-mill action series are the game’s peak, since most of the story consists of repetitive gang rape scenes that drag on and on. That’s not to say that it started out bad or anything. I did like what they did with Oboro’s character, where her seething hatred towards Asagi manifests in an incredibly perverted fashion. It reminded me a lot of shows like She-Ra, where there’s this homoerotic subtext that the writers clearly never intended. Note that I’m referring to the 1980s She-Ra, as opposed to the reboot, where the homoeroticism goes way beyond subtext.

It’s absolutely criminal that these two never fucked. Just look at them.
They’re mad horny for each other!

I also found the scene where Asagi’s body is modified to be grow more sensitive and erogenous to be quite hot. This scene worked because it’s something more interesting than just “let’s have a bunch of gross ugly bastards rape her and have her feel so humiliated and ashamed of it.” One of my growing frustrations with porn aimed at straight men is how unimaginative and tasteless it is. Why would one go through the effort of creating a unique setting with its own distinct lore just to make the game’s main selling point like every other emotionless fuck fest on the market?

You mean to tell me the people who wrote this couldn’t come up with anything beyond What if we have Asagi raped by a giant ogre with a leg-sized cock while she feels extremely humiliated over it? Oh, but those pales in comparison to their best idea: What if we have every man in the audience rape Asagi, showing her humiliation?
You even get to see the exact same sequence happen to Asagi’s sister, who (guess what?) feels very humiliated about it.

It gets so damn repetitive to see Oboro’s hypnosis used as a plot crutch to get Asagi to do or say things she’d never say, and then have her go “NOOOO, I’d never say that I’m not a slut uwu!” Just think about how hot things would have been if the ways that Asagi was mentally broken fit her character, as opposed to us expecting one of the most elite and powerful soldiers in the world not to be trained to handle psychological torture.

One can tell that this will all go downhill once you hear Oboro said that Asagi’s transformation will make even the most painful and violent rapes of hers feel pleasurable. This removes any tension from the assaults she receives, because you know she’s not in any pain and is enjoying herself. Oh, but it makes her SO embarrassed to be immune to levels of physical pain that will kill most people. Asagi sounding no different from a Catholic schoolgirl during these scenes is just not believable, but whoever wrote this sure loves seeing powerful women degraded, so of course the plot will bend itself to fulfill this fetish.

It’s not only unsexy, but it drags the pace of the game to an absolute crawl. I spent about six hours on this game, and about five hours of that were the sex scenes. Not only that, but those five hours were consecutive! Five hours of repetitive sex dialogue and even worse music wore down my senses and made reading through this visual novel absolute hell.

Final Thoughts

I am aware that this is a long-running series, and I assume that some of the later entries are better than this, but after having read the first in this series, I fully understand the pivot to gacha games and all-ages installments.

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Annie Gallagher is an american trans-feminist blogger who runs GuardianAcorn, where she’s built an impressive list of pieces writing very detailed articles about video games, visual novels, politics and everything interesting to her. Her writing consists of reviews, deeply analytical pieces, video game music critique, poems, original fiction and more. She approaches things from a philosophical and introspective manner that is meant to touch upon things most people never tend to notice.

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